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Joe Biden will use this week’s G7 summit to encourage European allies to take a harder stance towards Beijing, as the US president capped a string of new actions with an executive order to boost scrutiny of Chinese software and apps.

At the UK-hosted summit Biden hopes to convince his counterparts to rebuke China over its persecution of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, its crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, its economic coercion of countries such as Australia, and aggressive military activity in the South and East China Seas.

Biden’s latest executive order, which aims to protect the personal data of Americans, including health and genetic information, was the culmination of weeks in which the administration has turned the screws on China.

The Senate this week passed a bipartisan bill that would provide $250bn to help the US maintain a competitive edge over China in critical technologies such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing. And the Pentagon on Wednesday finished a three-month review of attempts by China to challenge US defence strategy, after concluding that Beijing had become one of its most serious “pacing threats”.

More G7 news:

  • Even with G7-backing, Joe Biden’s plan to overhaul the international tax system will face a difficult passage through the US Congress as Republicans threaten to vote down a prospective deal in a Senate where a two-thirds majority is necessary for approval.

  • Boris Johnson is being urged by Conservative MPs to stand up for British companies operating in India at this week’s G7 summit and to warn Prime Minister Narendra Modi against making his country “a halfway house between democracy and despotism”.

Coronavirus digest

  • An outbreak in southern China is curbing activity at some of the world’s largest ports, stoking fears of further disruption to international trade.

  • The US will purchase 500m Covid-19 vaccines made by Pfizer to donate to other countries, Joe Biden will announce on Thursday.

  • Boris Johnson is examining a “mix-and-match” approach to easing lockdown restrictions in England on June 21, following a surge in cases of the Delta variant of coronavirus.

  • Developing countries face the risk of a renewed economic downturn if vaccine supplies fail to materialise and global inflation rises, the World Bank warned.

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In the news

China’s producer prices rise at fastest pace in 13 years The price of goods leaving China’s factories has climbed sharply this year, piling pressure on policymakers as they grapple with the effects of a global commodity price rally.

SEC to review payment for order flow The top US stock market regulator is looking to change the rules around share trading, including fees paid by large Wall Street groups to handle customers’ orders. January’s explosion in “meme stocks” highlighted what Gary Gensler, chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, called “inefficiencies” in the market.

Russia outlaws Alexei Navalny’s organisations A Moscow court said that Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) and his nationwide network of political activists should be classified as “extremist”, a label that groups it with Isis and al-Qaeda, bans his supporters from running in elections and threatens them with years in prison.

El Salvador adopts bitcoin as legal tender El Salvador has become the first country to make bitcoin legal tender, which President Nayib Bukele hailed as a historic step towards financial inclusion and economic growth for the poor Central American nation.

US food delivery leader DoorDash launches in Japan The US food delivery app has launched in Japan, marking the company’s first foray into the Asian market and the latest move by a big delivery group to expand globally in an effort to tap a pandemic-driven boom in demand.

China investigates senior bad debt official for corruption The country is investigating an executive at one of its biggest state-backed distressed debt managers for graft, six months after a former senior banking official was executed over corruption charges.

Indian tycoons surpass Chinese tech moguls in global rich list India’s industrial moguls Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani have swept past the likes of China’s Jack Ma in global wealth rankings as the fortunes of leading billionaires in two of Asia’s largest economies diverge.

Bar chart of Estimated net worth ($bn) showing India’s industrial moguls surpass China’s tech titans

The day ahead

Biden to press Johnson to end bitter Northern Ireland stand-off Boris Johnson will on Thursday face pressure from Joe Biden to work with the EU to end a bitter stand-off over a settlement in Northern Ireland, as post-Brexit talks ended in stalemate and threats.

ECB interest rate announcement A string of European Central Bank council members have said they still see little reason to change policy at today’s meeting. Several policymakers, including ECB president Christine Lagarde, have said the eurozone’s inflation surge is only a temporary phenomenon.

US inflation data Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect the year on year inflation rate to have jumped to 4.7 per cent in May in figures to be released by the US Department of Labor on Thursday, compared with 4.2 per cent in April.

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What else we’re reading

Down and out in Chinese tech A new generation at China’s technology giants is demanding an end to harsh working conditions. Forced ranking is just one of many recent flashpoints that have generated scrutiny at China’s large tech companies as allegations of overwork, abuse and injury have become the subject of heated nationwide debate.

Japan, land of the rising investment prospects While deflation and demographics have been a drag on the Japanese economy. The Nikkei’s returns of close to 10 per cent a year illustrate the maxim that a stock market does not always reflect what is happening economically.

Exporting Chinese surveillance The use of Chinese technology is one of the backdrops to the G7 summit, where leading democracies will discuss how to respond to Beijing’s global reach. To defenders, these surveillance systems offer big efficiency gains. But to some experts, they carry potential security and human rights threats.

Facial recognition, tracking technology and number plate identification could create a web of surveillance across smart cities
Facial recognition, tracking technology and number plate identification could create a web of surveillance across smart cities © FT montage

Naftali Bennett reaps reward for calculated rise To those who have risen alongside the man who is likely to be Israel’s next prime minister, and friends who have known him for decades, the ability to inhabit different roles — hard-right standard-bearer, tech multi-millionaire and, suddenly, a uniting voice in a divided country — says more about Bennett than incendiary comments he has made in his rise to the summit of Israeli politics.

Backlash against Chinese campus gives Orban pause for thought Protests have forced Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban into retreat over China’s Fudan University project in Budapest. While Orban has been nurturing ever closer ties with Beijing through his “eastern opening” policy, eastern Europeans have been cooling on China for some time, writes FT’s Europe editor Ben Hall. Sign up to our Europe Express newsletter for your essential guide to what matters on the continent, every weekday morning.

Cartoon of the day

US investigates leak of records showing billionaires pay little tax

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